100 Best Australian Albums by John O’Donnell, Toby Creswell and Craig Mathieson

Imagine writing such a book. What would it mean?

Every BBQ, dinner party, dentist’s waiting room, commuter flight would be interrupted by the phrase – I can’t believe you didn’t include [insert crap album here]… or the question – How could you include [insert awesome album here]?

But then such interruptions would be welcomed when contrasted with the alternative, the very good chance of receiving a punch in the face from any number of angry and upset 1927 or Uncanny X-Men devotees.

You would really want to love music. I mean LOVE it. Because, there’s a good chance the rest of your life will be spent defending your choices and if you didn’t LOVE it, you’d go f*%#ing nuts!

I love music, so I thought I’d join in.

I started formulating my list of best Australian albums – On the Beach by Neil Young, Love and Theft by Bob Dylan, In Rainbows by Radiohead – only to be told that being Australian was obligatory. Which, as you can imagine, I thought was very uncool, very un-rock’n’roll. So I gave up.

I held a copy of 100 Best Australian Albums today – it’s attractively laid out – but the rep wouldn’t let me look at the top ten – IT’S UNDER EMBARGO – oooohhh!!! –  I humbly apologise for not knocking the rep to the ground and taking a peek… but my better nature got in the way… again.



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Here’s what the publisher has to say:

Australian music has a proud, colourful and successful history.

In 2008, Australian rock & roll turned 50.

This book names the best Australian albums of the last 50 years. It places each album in order (from 1 – 100) and discuses why each album deserves its place.

It tells the story behind the making of the album, where the album fits in the artist’s career and the album’s impact on the local and world stage etc.

The entries will feature new interviews with the artists and the producers/managers involved in the recording and the release of the album.

“It wouldn’t be a good list if it didn’t polarise people and we hope that this list will. We also hope that it will get people sitting around comparing their favourites and discovering or re-discovering these great albums and others. With 70 years of loving and writing about Australian music between us, we shamelessly believe we’ve earned the right to write this book. And we think we’ve got it right. Let the debate begin.” – John O’Donnell, April 2010

Finally, here is a much-needed list of argument-starting top 100 seminal/ influential/essential Australian albums of all time. Let the fight begin!


I couldn’t help noting that the authors of  100 Best Australian Albums are all men – the list makers. And it occurred to me that the perfect accompaniment to this book is the novel High Fidelity

Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity is the brilliant story of one man’s journey of self-discovery. When Rob – a thirty-five-year old record shop owner and music obsessive – is dumped by Laura he indulges in some casual sex, a little light stalking and some extreme soul-searching in the form of contacting every ex-girlfriend who ever broke his heart. An instant classic, High Fidelity is a hilarious exploration of love, life, music and the modern male.

Update: The author’s have been wise enough to include a few of my favourites in their 100 Best Australian Albums – Crowded House – Woodface, Avalanches – Since I Left You, Sarah Blasko – As Day Follows Night, Something For Kate – Echolalia, Bob Evans – Suburban Songbook, Bernard Fanning – Tea & Sympathy and Ben Lee – Awake is the New Sleep (Yes, I am a dork)

2 Responses

  1. Um… A quick Google search would have informed you that #12 on the list is Go-Betweens – 16 Lovers Lane.


  2. How dare you omit the Go-Betweens from any such list.

    Its makes the book a fraud…

    No sale here…then again that would not matter to you lot..’ignorance is bliss… ‘

    While I am at it GW McLennan and Robert Forster solo efforts…

    Enough time wasted here…



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